Hundreds of thousands join the world climate youth championships

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AFP / MARTIN OUELLET DIOTTE
Montreal drew among the largest crowds, estimated by the organizers at nearly 150,000

Hundreds of thousands of young people skipped school on Friday to march through the streets for an international day of student protests aimed at pushing world leaders into action against climate change.

Classrooms in capitals from Bangkok to Berlin and Lagos to London were emptied as organizers of the student strike, called demonstrations in more than 100 countries.

Students flooded the streets throughout Europe, North and South America, and Asia with signs that said, "There is no planet B," "You destroy our future," and "If you don't act like adults, we'll do that. "

Despite three decades of warnings, carbon dioxide emissions reached record levels in 2017 and again last year.

Charging the atmosphere with greenhouse gases at the current speed will eventually lead to an uninhabitable planet, scientists say.

AFP / Martin BERNETTI
Thousands of people demonstrated in front of the La Moneda presidencial palace in Santiago, Chile during the worldwide protests

In Stockholm, Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg – who inspired the protests – warned that the time was up.

"We are living through an existential crisis that has been ignored for decades and if we don't act now, it may be too late," said 16-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Swedish public television station SVT.

Their placards formed a mosaic all over the world:

"Just like the ocean, we'll get up" (Sydney)

AFP / Joaquin SARMIENTO
A man in Medellin, Colombia, appears during a protest as part of the worldwide demonstrations calling for action to combat climate change

"Our future in your hands" (Berlin)

"System Change not Climate Change" (Vienna)

"Do not be a Trump" (Hong Kong)

"The Titanic would have NO problem in 2019" (Elmshorn, Germany)

And everywhere: "There is no planet B."

Montreal drew among the largest crowds, estimated by the organizers at nearly 150,000.

In the United States, the protests were less invasive, with events in New York, Washington, Chicago, Portland, Oregon, and St. Paul, Minnesota, where a sign said, "So bad even introverts are here!"

Further south in Latin America, placards with messages such as & # 39; climate change were not & # 39; fake news & # 39; & # 39; seen in Buenos Aires, Argentina – while young people also took to the streets in the Chilean capital Santiago and Colombia & Medellin.

In Delhi, one of & # 39; the world's most polluted cities, 200 students participated in a colorful protest, waving ribbons, juggling and performing stunts with rings.

TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP / Henrik MONTGOMERY
"We are living through an existential crisis that has been ignored for decades," says 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, dressed in yellow, who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

"We have to make a choice whether we want to sit and be indifferent or do something for our planet," said 16-year-old student Srijani Datta.

In Sydney, 18-year-old Charles Rickwood warned that the Australian Great Barrier Reef could be destroyed.

"If current trends in the environment continue, we will see the one, two degree increase in our ocean, then it will simply become untenable and we can lose the entire Great Barrier Reef," he told AFP.

– Skipping exams –

AFP / Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS
In France, tens of thousands participated in the youth strike, with up to 40,000 in Paris alone, police said

European students were also massive. A thousand young people crowded the streets of central London in a raucous demonstration with banners and posters.

Packing in Parliament Square, they cheered and chanted "Change … now!" before marching down Downing Street and massaging outside of Buckingham Palace.

"They won't stop me from saving the planet," said 15-year-old Joe Crabtree from southwest London, who had missed two exams to join the rally.

More than a million generally marched, according to estimates by organizing groups such as the Youth For Climate movement and AFP reporters.

AFP / Tolga Akmen
In London, thousands of young people skipped lessons to march down Downing Street

The Friday for the Future movement said that more than 300,000 young people demonstrated only in Germany.

When young people came out on the streets, countries gathered at the UN environment meeting in Kenya announced that they had agreed to significantly reduce single-use plastics in the next decade.

But experts said that the promise – which only related to man-made global warming and did not mention the fossil fuels that caused it – went far enough from the steps needed to cope with the burgeoning pollution crisis of Earth. to grab.

– & # 39; Adults must learn a lesson & # 39; –

The global campaign drew a mixed response from politicians.

The German Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, said the protesters should be in the classroom, while the Australian education minister Dan Tehan said that standing out is "not something we should encourage".

AFP / MARTIN OUELLET DIOTTE
Crowds filled the streets of Montreal, at temperatures barely above freezing

But the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, praised the action and said, "We hear you and we continue to determine a path for carbon neutrality."

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, offered the strikes most, in The Guardian newspaper: "Without ambitious action, the Paris agreement is meaningless."

Guterres also called for world leaders to come to the New York climate action summit in September "with concrete, realistic plans" to further reduce their emissions by 2020, to achieve a goal of 45 percent lower emissions in the next decade, and to zero zero by 2050.

AFP / JOE KLAMAR
The worldwide demonstrations were started by a 16-year-old Swedish student who started truancy last year to protest

In the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, students circulated a petition to be presented to the government and demanded concrete measures.

– & # 39; My eyes hurt from pollution & # 39; –

The Paris Convention calls for a reduction in the greenhouse effect at "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but the planet is currently on track to increase by double that figure.

The UN climate science panel warned in October that only a large-scale transformation of the world economy and consumption patterns could prevent a catastrophe.

"My eyes hurt from pollution, my shirt gets dirty from dust," 13-year-old protester Shagun Kumari told AFP in Delhi.

"I want fresh air that doesn't damage my lungs and clean water to drink so that I don't fall sick."

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